City Confused On Parking Restrictions Around Schools
Since all public school teachers are on strike and no public school children are in the classroom, most drivers would assume they can safely ignore the signs restricting parking around schools which are only in effect during “School Days”.
Despite the lack of school children or any class instruction going on at the majority of Chicago Public Schools, Department of Finance spokesperson Holly Stutz says Parking Enforcement Aides will be ticketing around all schools while the strike is on.
“DOF will ticket if an individual is parked in a school zone during the strike,” says Stutz. “Certain schools are being used as Children First alternative school sites. If children are present at one of these alternative sites, there are obvious safety concerns (such as accessibility to emergency vehicles) that make parking enforcement appropriate.”
Of course, it would make sense that parking restrictions would still be in place at schools being utilized by children for meals or safe havens during the strike. In addition, charter, private, Catholic and other parochial schools are not being affected by the teacher strike and therefore parking restrictions around those locations would be in effect.
But Stutz contends school parking bans are still in place for all schools–even those without any children, teachers or staff inside.
However city PEAs who have communicated with The Expired Meter says they’ve been “instructed not to ticket any school zone time restrictions,” by DOF Street Operations management.
Confused by the contradictory messages and that signs around schools clearly state school must actually be in session for the parking restrictions to take place, we contacted Patricia Jackowiak, Director of Chicago’s Department of Administrative Hearings to get a legal perspective on this issue.
As Chief Administrative Law Judge for the city, Jackowiak oversees the department that deals with parking ticket hearings. She seems to believe only parking violations around schools with actual, live children inside would be upheld if contested, noting there are some school buildings still open during the strike.
If you get a ticket around a school without any reading, writing or ‘rithmetic going on during the duration of the teacher strike, Jackowiak encourages drivers to contest the ticket in person or by mail.
“It says ‘on school days’,” says Jackowiak quoting signs restricting parking posted on streets adjacent to schools. “They (drivers) can absolutely assert this as a defense. They could reference the strike but they would need to confirm that that facility was not in use at the time.”